The return of the statisticians. On the value of statistics in clinical neuropsychology
Summary. There was a time when clinicians looked down on any decision-making that did not depend on their own judgement. Statisticians laughed at such naivety, as they were fully aware of the extent to which the heuristics that guide human decisions are capable of error, even in the most highly trained individuals. More than 60 years after the beginning of this conflict, the two standpoints have still not been adopted in clinical psychology or in neuropsychology. This work defends the practical application of statistics in clinical decision-making and shows that even intuitive-type judgement is somehow based on applying the basic use of statistical concepts, without neglecting the fact that statistical instruments have sometimes been misused. To this end, this study compares the opinions offered by some clinicians in sentence form with the bibliography consulted, which spans the period from the earliest works by the clinical psychologist Paul Meehl to the present day. We have no intention whatsoever of imposing an opinion, but instead of discussing the advantage of adopting an approach that uses mathematical knowledge to support clinical decision-making. Attention is also drawn to the need for multidisciplinary teams in the special units of our hospitals.
Key words. Clinical judgement. Neuropsychology. Prediction. Qualitative. Quantitative. Statistics.